I read about a wonderful new development this morning called the sKan which has just won the 2017 International Dyson Award for design engineering.
Four engineering students from McMasters University in Canada have developed a device to help with the early diagnosis of melanoma skin cancer. The sKan detects changes in skin temperature and produces a thermal map which identifies whether a lesion is cancerous at a fraction of the cost of other devices.
I could not help but think about the people I have come across in my legal work who could have benefited from the early diagnosis that this new tool will enable. Their cases were deeply upsetting, not least because they were young mothers with small children.
Melanoma skin cancer is easily treatable if it is caught early, but late diagnosis is deadly because the cancer spreads to other organs.
The prognosis is closely linked to the depth of the lesion or mole. If the abnormal area of skin is diagnosed as cancerous early on, then usually the lesion is shallow and it can be easily removed before any cells have travelled around the body.
Unfortunately the team are only just at the development stage and they are hoping to take the sKan to pre-clinical trials. We should all be pushing for the trials of this new device to be funded as soon as soon as possible so that it is available in every GP surgery in the UK.
Gill Edwards is a senior clinical negligence solicitor with Potter Rees Dolan. Should you have any queries about clinical negligence issues and, in particular, birth injuries or neonatal death, and wish to speak with Gill or any other member of the team please contact us on 0161 237 5888.